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Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

If you believed in God, would you want to study his works?

Yes.
39
52%
No.
5
7%
Maybe.
2
3%
I hate religion and religious people.
14
19%
Galloism, stop making stupid threads.
15
20%
 
Total votes : 75

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Galloism
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Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Galloism » Fri May 29, 2009 7:26 am

It was brought up in the other thread that, in many cases, religions (of various creeds) have blocked scientific advancement. I don't deny that. It's a historical fact. The question I want to know is: why?

The reason this puzzles me is for this simple thought experiment:

Let's suppose you believe in God/gods/giant spaghetti monster/magic pink unicorns/whatever that created the universe.

Wouldn't you want to know how he did it? Wouldn't you want to know how this character set up the universe, the physical laws, the way that weather, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology work? Wouldn't you be interested at all in his creation? Wouldn't studying his creation be a good way of actually learning more about the individual in question? I mean, personally, when I go to a store and buy something new and interesting, the first thing I want to do is take it home and take it apart to see how it works. I don't always do it, but dammit I want to.

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Wilgrove
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Wilgrove » Fri May 29, 2009 7:30 am

Because they're afraid that their belief will turn out to be false, or in error.

Of course I'm all for Scientific discovery and advancement. Hell if it wasn't for science, I'd died right after birth.

Also, you really should start using the names of God. God is a title.

I'm guessing in this instance you mean Yahweh.
Last edited by Wilgrove on Fri May 29, 2009 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sarkhaan
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Sarkhaan » Fri May 29, 2009 7:34 am

Wilgrove wrote:Because they're afraid that their belief will turn out to be false, or in error.

Of course I'm all for Scientific discovery and advancement. Hell if it wasn't for science, I'd died right after birth.

Also, you really should start using the names of God. God is a title.

I'm guessing in this instance you mean Yahweh.

god is a title. God is a specific deity, who also goes by Eloheim, Adonai, Lord, Yhwh, Allah, Got, and about a hundred others.

As to why religion frequently blocks science, it tends to come from fear, misunderstanding, and arrogance.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Soyut » Fri May 29, 2009 7:35 am

Galloism wrote:It was brought up in the other thread that, in many cases, religions (of various creeds) have blocked scientific advancement. I don't deny that. It's a historical fact. The question I want to know is: why?

The reason this puzzles me is for this simple thought experiment:

Let's suppose you believe in God/gods/giant spaghetti monster/magic pink unicorns/whatever that created the universe.

Wouldn't you want to know how he did it? Wouldn't you want to know how this character set up the universe, the physical laws, the way that weather, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology work? Wouldn't you be interested at all in his creation? Wouldn't studying his creation be a good way of actually learning more about the individual in question? I mean, personally, when I go to a store and buy something new and interesting, the first thing I want to do is take it home and take it apart to see how it works. I don't always do it, but dammit I want to.

Ok, I've babbled. Come hither, NSG!


I'll give you an example of religion blocking science. The catholic church banned Copernicus for believing that the sun is the center of the universe.

But I don't see why religion MUST always oppose science. Most of the time it doesn't.
Last edited by Soyut on Fri May 29, 2009 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Farnhamia Redux » Fri May 29, 2009 7:35 am

Assuming I did believe, for some reason, I think I would still want to study the Creator's works. I should hope that belief would not rob me of that.

And this is my objection to Intelligent Design, one of them, anyway: ID says that some biological systems are so complex that they cannot have evolved naturally, which says to me that they mean, if it's too hard to figure out you can just say "God did it" and go have pizza or something. Actually not, because if that attitude had held sway for the last couple centuries we probably wouldn't have pizza.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Wilgrove » Fri May 29, 2009 7:36 am

Sarkhaan wrote:
Wilgrove wrote:Because they're afraid that their belief will turn out to be false, or in error.

Of course I'm all for Scientific discovery and advancement. Hell if it wasn't for science, I'd died right after birth.

Also, you really should start using the names of God. God is a title.

I'm guessing in this instance you mean Yahweh.

god is a title. God is a specific deity, who also goes by Eloheim, Adonai, Lord, Yhwh, Allah, Got, and about a hundred others.

As to why religion frequently blocks science, it tends to come from fear, misunderstanding, and arrogance.


The only reason Yahweh is called God because some Jews thousands of years ago felt like they weren't worthy of saying God's true name (It's Yahweh) so they started calling him "God". Personally it annoys me.

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G073nks
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby G073nks » Fri May 29, 2009 7:45 am

God is still a name that the christian church uses to specify their god (who is the same god that the Jewish and Muslim believe in).
I don't think religion itself stands in the way of any science, it is the people behind it who do, they are either self blinding or as stated before afraid to prove their view wrong.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Gift-of-god » Fri May 29, 2009 7:53 am

Religion does not constitute an obstacle to science. Many early scientists (or natural philosophers as they were called then) were deeply religious people who were studying the natural world in order to prove god's existence/hand in creation/purpose/whatever.

Obstacles only arise when one field tries to claim a truth in the other's field. If, for example, I beleive Genesis is literally true, I am using religion tomake a claim about the natural world which is science's domain. My belief then becomes an obstacle to my understanding of Big Bang and evolutionary theories, as well as others. But, if I hold the belief that God is a rational being who created a rational world, and then created humanity in His image (i.e. rational), that would actually be a strong belief on which one could then construct the scientific method.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Hetairos » Fri May 29, 2009 7:55 am

The reason religion opposes science, is because powerful religious people don't/didn't understand science. They see it as a threat to their beliefs, because they have to be narrow-minded, and believe absolutely in what their holy book/religion etc tells them. When they see some evidence to suggest that something they believe in is wrong, like the theory of evolution for creationists, they think that it is suggesting their whole religion is completely wrong, and oppose it using the bible, rather than interpreting it in a different way. This question is more about why some religious people are completely closed to evidence or logic based criticism.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Deus Malum » Fri May 29, 2009 8:00 am

I'm going to take a page out from Carl Sagan, as he wrote in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

pg. 50:
In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way."

pg. 53-54:
Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. We gaze across billions of light-years of space to view the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, and plumb the fine structure of matter. We peer down into the core of our planet, and the blazing interior of our star. We read the genetic language in which is written the diverse skills and propensities of every being on Earth. We uncover hidden chapters in the record of our origins, and with some anguish better understand our nature and prospects. We invent and refine agriculture, without which almost all of us would starve to death. We create medicines and vaccines that save the lives of billions. We communicate at the speed of light, and whip around the Earth in an hour and a half. We have sent dozens of ships to more than seventy worlds, and four spacecraft to the stars. We are right to rejoice in our accomplishments, to be proud that our species has been able to see so far, and to judge our merit in part by the very science that has so deflated our pretensions.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Hetairos » Fri May 29, 2009 8:00 am

Gift-of-god wrote:Religion does not constitute an obstacle to science. Many early scientists (or natural philosophers as they were called then) were deeply religious people who were studying the natural world in order to prove god's existence/hand in creation/purpose/whatever.

Obstacles only arise when one field tries to claim a truth in the other's field. If, for example, I beleive Genesis is literally true, I am using religion tomake a claim about the natural world which is science's domain. My belief then becomes an obstacle to my understanding of Big Bang and evolutionary theories, as well as others. But, if I hold the belief that God is a rational being who created a rational world, and then created humanity in His image (i.e. rational), that would actually be a strong belief on which one could then construct the scientific method.


But unless you can use logic/reason/evidence to base your scientific ideas on, then everything you create using logic is completely worthless. In order for something to be logical, there need to be as few assumptions in it as possible.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Sarkhaan » Fri May 29, 2009 8:05 am

Wilgrove wrote:The only reason Yahweh is called God because some Jews thousands of years ago felt like they weren't worthy of saying God's true name (It's Yahweh) so they started calling him "God". Personally it annoys me.

Actually, God is an English word. Comes from the Gothic "Guth". Yahweh is, at best, a mediocre English attempt at pronouncing YHWH...given that the vowels were never written, and speaking the word outside the temple was forbidden, the actual pronunciation has been lost. It is also standardly read in Hebrew as "Adonai", which actually translates to "lord" and not "god". Elohim is the hebrew word for god, and is also an acceptable name.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Deus Malum » Fri May 29, 2009 8:05 am

Sarkhaan wrote:
Wilgrove wrote:The only reason Yahweh is called God because some Jews thousands of years ago felt like they weren't worthy of saying God's true name (It's Yahweh) so they started calling him "God". Personally it annoys me.

Actually, God is an English word. Comes from the Gothic "Guth". Yahweh is, at best, a mediocre English attempt at pronouncing YHWH...given that the vowels were never written, and speaking the word outside the temple was forbidden, the actual pronunciation has been lost. It is also standardly read in Hebrew as "Adonai", which actually translates to "lord" and not "god". Elohim is the hebrew word for god, and is also an acceptable name.

But isn't Elohim also a plural word? Genuine question, as I don't speak a word of Hebrew.
Last edited by Deus Malum on Fri May 29, 2009 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Free Soviets » Fri May 29, 2009 8:09 am

Galloism wrote:It was brought up in the other thread that, in many cases, religions (of various creeds) have blocked scientific advancement. I don't deny that. It's a historical fact. The question I want to know is: why?


because it undoes the old order - it undermines the authority of priests and prophets, demands that tradition be questioned and, quite regularly, abandoned, laughs at revelation as a source of knowledge, and implants radical knew ideas into the minds of the young.

that shit's fucking dangerous and should be handled by professionals, if at all.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Vojvodina-Nihon » Fri May 29, 2009 8:09 am

In recent years (with rapid scientific progress) religion has not been much of an obstacle, except among fundamentalist leaders who are unwilling to accept certain scientific principles out of fear (mostly the fear that their beliefs, which they were raised on and accept as truth, could be wrong) and the people who listen to them. I'm sure many, perhaps even the majority of, scientists hold some kind of religious belief, even if they're just Deists or something. <.<

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Gift-of-god » Fri May 29, 2009 8:10 am

Hetairos wrote:
Gift-of-god wrote:Religion does not constitute an obstacle to science. Many early scientists (or natural philosophers as they were called then) were deeply religious people who were studying the natural world in order to prove god's existence/hand in creation/purpose/whatever.

Obstacles only arise when one field tries to claim a truth in the other's field. If, for example, I beleive Genesis is literally true, I am using religion tomake a claim about the natural world which is science's domain. My belief then becomes an obstacle to my understanding of Big Bang and evolutionary theories, as well as others. But, if I hold the belief that God is a rational being who created a rational world, and then created humanity in His image (i.e. rational), that would actually be a strong belief on which one could then construct the scientific method.


But unless you can use logic/reason/evidence to base your scientific ideas on, then everything you create using logic is completely worthless. In order for something to be logical, there need to be as few assumptions in it as possible.


The assumption that the world is rational is one of the few assumptions that science does make.
http://web.utk.edu/~dhasting/Basic_Assu ... cience.htm

It is a logical assumption to make, and so far, we have yet to be disappointed.

To tie it back to the OP, the belief in an orderly universe is one of the messages or themes presented in Genesis, i.e. God is described as a conscious being who goes about constructing the natural world in an orderly way. This underlying religious belief may have been the inspiration for the very similar assumption that science makes.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Sarkhaan » Fri May 29, 2009 8:13 am

Deus Malum wrote:But isn't Elohim also a plural word? Genuine question, as I don't speak a word of Hebrew.

Yes. Elohim is a masculine pluralization of a feminine noun, used to refer to a singular entity. And now, back to your previously scheduled topic.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Saige Dragon » Fri May 29, 2009 8:20 am

Soyut wrote:I'll give you an example of religion blocking science. The catholic church banned Copernicus for believing that the sun is the center of the universe.


And the Catholic Church did it with good reason. The sun isn't the center of the insanely large and ever expanding universe, it's the center of our tiny and insignificant solar system.

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Ravea » Fri May 29, 2009 8:32 am

Saige Dragon wrote:
Soyut wrote:I'll give you an example of religion blocking science. The catholic church banned Copernicus for believing that the sun is the center of the universe.


And the Catholic Church did it with good reason. The sun isn't the center of the insanely large and ever expanding universe, it's the center of our tiny and insignificant solar system.


Well, yeah, but Copernicus's theory led to the eventual destruction of the belief that the Earth is the center of the universe, like the church believed. As science evolved, we realized that the sun is just a tiny piece of the universe.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Free Soviets » Fri May 29, 2009 8:42 am

Saige Dragon wrote:
Soyut wrote:I'll give you an example of religion blocking science. The catholic church banned Copernicus for believing that the sun is the center of the universe.


And the Catholic Church did it with good reason. The sun isn't the center of the insanely large and ever expanding universe, it's the center of our tiny and insignificant solar system.

that would only work if that was their reason. are you claiming it was?

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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Fri May 29, 2009 8:43 am

Galloism wrote:It was brought up in the other thread that, in many cases, religions (of various creeds) have blocked scientific advancement. I don't deny that. It's a historical fact. The question I want to know is: why?


Power (or the fear of being kicked out of it) and laziness. Also possibly stupidity. In short, same as the reason most people do bad things. Oh, and never forget the fear of change, or restated, the loss of certainty.

I'm not sure which bee the Catholic Church got in its bonnet WRT Gallileo and the other early astronomers, but I know a bit about later Xians' problems with geology (specifically the origin and age of the earth) and biology (that icky evolution thing).

So, starting in the mid to late 1700s, people (mostly in Britain) began to get interested in rocks and changes in the Earth: where do mountains come from, what makes hot springs spring, etc. Some of them eventually figured out that geological processes were very slow, apparently driven by some source of heat inside the Earth, and cyclical: vulcanism makes mountains, and wind and rain slowly grind them down to below sea level.

No big deal... 'cept that the cyclical nature made it impossible to say that there was a beginning, much less a Beginning. Or an end, for that matter. And if the Earth went on from forever ago to forever from now, there couldn't be a God existing before, nor an obvious "end of days".

This upset of bunch of religious folks: their moral codes were built on a Xian foundation. So, some of them set out to show that gradual, cyclical changes were wrong: the Earth had a specific beginning, and that it would eventually run down.

It turns out that not only were they sort of right -- there are unidirectional changes in the Earth, such as the salting of the seas -- they were sorta wrong -- cyclical changes are superimposed on the unidirectional ones... and their time scale was off. Way off. No 5,000 years would do, nor even 50,000. In the period, they realized the Earth had to be at least millions of years old to account for salting of the seas, erosion of mountains, and such like. So, some Xians were happy with that: the story in Genesis is "stretched out". A "day" to God means "millions of years". Hey, it's a parable. No problem.

But about the same time as that was going on, people started thinking about where living things came from. Erasmus Darwin, Chucky's granddad, was one of the folks who started thinking both about geology and evolution. The same thing happened: suggestion of evolution, finding of evidence for it, religious reaction, and... ooops, this time no countervailing evidence turned up.

And again, many Xians shrugged and went about their business. But some didn't: knocking the Xian creation myth completely off its pedestal apparently undermines their faith in the Bible. (This is my impression from trying to talk to some of them.) And also, they view the Bible as the only legitimate source of morality. Uh-oh. So, they seem to feel obliged to defend the Xian creation myth on the grounds that if that falls, there's nothing keeping us from killing each other, or worse, watching bad internet porn.

Conclusion: they fear the loss of power implied by the certainty of the moral code outlined in the Bible.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Blouman Empire » Fri May 29, 2009 9:26 am

A question maybe should also be asked why does science and religion need be exclusive?
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Hetairos » Fri May 29, 2009 10:13 am

Gift-of-god wrote:
Hetairos wrote:
Gift-of-god wrote:Religion does not constitute an obstacle to science. Many early scientists (or natural philosophers as they were called then) were deeply religious people who were studying the natural world in order to prove god's existence/hand in creation/purpose/whatever.

Obstacles only arise when one field tries to claim a truth in the other's field. If, for example, I beleive Genesis is literally true, I am using religion tomake a claim about the natural world which is science's domain. My belief then becomes an obstacle to my understanding of Big Bang and evolutionary theories, as well as others. But, if I hold the belief that God is a rational being who created a rational world, and then created humanity in His image (i.e. rational), that would actually be a strong belief on which one could then construct the scientific method.


But unless you can use logic/reason/evidence to base your scientific ideas on, then everything you create using logic is completely worthless. In order for something to be logical, there need to be as few assumptions in it as possible.


The assumption that the world is rational is one of the few assumptions that science does make.
http://web.utk.edu/~dhasting/Basic_Assu ... cience.htm

It is a logical assumption to make, and so far, we have yet to be disappointed.

To tie it back to the OP, the belief in an orderly universe is one of the messages or themes presented in Genesis, i.e. God is described as a conscious being who goes about constructing the natural world in an orderly way. This underlying religious belief may have been the inspiration for the very similar assumption that science makes.


But what I mean is that unless tou can logically show that creation happened, you cannot base any other logical explanations on it. How can you prove rationally even that god exists/existed? Just because the world is probably rational, it doesn't mean it had to be created by a divine being.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Bottle » Fri May 29, 2009 10:25 am

Galloism wrote:It was brought up in the other thread that, in many cases, religions (of various creeds) have blocked scientific advancement. I don't deny that. It's a historical fact. The question I want to know is: why?

The reason this puzzles me is for this simple thought experiment:

Let's suppose you believe in God/gods/giant spaghetti monster/magic pink unicorns/whatever that created the universe.

Wouldn't you want to know how he did it? Wouldn't you want to know how this character set up the universe, the physical laws, the way that weather, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology work? Wouldn't you be interested at all in his creation? Wouldn't studying his creation be a good way of actually learning more about the individual in question? I mean, personally, when I go to a store and buy something new and interesting, the first thing I want to do is take it home and take it apart to see how it works. I don't always do it, but dammit I want to.

Ok, I've babbled. Come hither, NSG!

1) Some people believe in religion precisely because they DON'T care to know any of those things. They want quick and simple answers, not the kind of detail and the time commitment required to learn science. I don't think religion makes people this way, I just think curiosity is like any other personality trait; people have it, or don't, to varying degrees.

2) Some people believe that asking questions about the "how" is dangerous, that God does not want humans to know too much. Just think of all the times people talk about how we shouldn't "play God" with such and such. Some people draw the line earlier than others.

3) I'm sure we've all seen the cliche image of a caveman being shown a cigarette lighter or something and reacting to it as if it's magical, right? To a lot of people, understanding how a lighter works makes it less magical. (Personally, I find it a lot more amazing and fascinating to know how things work, but that's a matter of personality I think.) Same applies to the universe. There's a reason why "ignorance is bliss" is a cliche phrase...cause it gets used so damn much. :P

4) The more you understand about how things work, the more you may have to change what you believe. For instance, if you believed that the human body was specifically and directly created by the greatest intelligence in the universe, but then you learn that our system of cranial sinuses looks like my 4 year old nephew's shoelaces after he tries to tie them all by himself, then you may be forced to reconsider some of your beliefs. There are religious believers who are perfectly able to do this, but there are also believers who are not.

5) Remember that an individual's experience of religion is a quite different matter than a religion as an organization. Religions as organizations will very often conflict with science because it's a matter of power and control. For example, people used to turn to prayer whenever they got sick because there wasn't anything else to do; now, fewer and fewer people do this because science has opened up so many alternatives. The kind of injuries or illnesses that people used to pray over are now so trivial that most believers don't bother to pray about them, because it's just not important enough to bother God every time you get a runny nose. This is obviously not a bad thing for the individual, but it can be a bad thing for the religious organization which has lost some of its power and influence.
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Re: Why should religion be an obstacle to science?

Postby Gift-of-god » Fri May 29, 2009 10:28 am

Hetairos wrote:But what I mean is that unless tou can logically show that creation happened, you cannot base any other logical explanations on it. How can you prove rationally even that god exists/existed? Just because the world is probably rational, it doesn't mean it had to be created by a divine being.


Let me clarify:

There are two different things here: 1) the belief that God created a rational world, and 2) the assumption that the world is rational.

The first is a religious belief. The second is a logical assumption.

Science bases itself on the second and ignores the first, obviously.

The only thing that the belief has to do with science is this: if a culture has the first belief, like Abrahamic cultures, then they may be inspired to hold the assumption as true. This, in turn, could lead to the development of science. Some historians believe that this may have been the case, as science was basically invented by people from the three Abrahamic faiths.

All this to say that we don't need to prove god or logicaly show that creation happened in order to have useful dialogue between science and religion.
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I defend the little kids and I level downtown Tokyo
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